Bathing Beauty, from Meditations
The Meditations/Miroir d’eau Series began as a fleeting image.
A puddle on the streets of Paris caught Cole’s eye, and she marvelled at the fluttering image of a glass building against blue sky reflected in the water. The puddle—nature’s incidental mirror—became for Cole a kind of primordial photographic moment. Indeed, she knew that any attempt to materialize the memory deserved an understanding of early photographic techniques. Cole began by pouring water over a slate tile and photographing her subjects’ reflections, a process which mimicked the effect of pouring liquid film onto aluminum to make a tintype. Imitation became actual with Cole’s use of the 19th century process of wet collodion to render the reflected images, imperfect edges and all. She captures the model at an oblique angle similar to that of her own during the Parisian walk; now, the viewer occupies the vantage point of the puddle. We look up and into the world as though through a temporary window, our frame constantly “edited” by the curvature of the waterline. Each figure—statuesque, pensive, and distant—is now an object of our own, impermanent gaze.
Cole is known for her sleek, plexiglass presentation style, which enhances the weightlessness of her underwater imagery. The artist's archival fine art photographs are face-mounted with plexiglass and have a slim, 0.25 inch profile. A hidden aluminum channel on the back offers easy installation and a contemporary, frameless presentation.